Getting ready for ichi ji hoikuen

We decided earlier this year that it would be nice for Aiden to enter ichi ji hoikuen (part time daycare) to give him some extra socialisation, outside play time, chance to learn Japanese etc. It would also give Aiden and I some time apart, which is valuable for both of us, after over 2 years of 24/7 continuous contact.

The education system in Japan seems more complicated than that in New Zealand, but I am not sure how it compares to that in other countries.

Hoikuen is like daycare, and although it is ready available in most parts in Japan, entering is much easier said than done. There is a great site with lots of information on childcare in Japan, so please check here if you want more info.

But basically there are 5 kinds of daycare...
1. City Operated Authorised Nursery Schools
2. Privately Operated Authorised Nursery Schools
3. Certified Daycare Centres
4. Nursery Rooms
5. Nursery Mommies

Almost 2 minutes walk from our house is a Nursery School which mostly takes students of working mothers. We see lots of grannies going to pick up the little kids after 8 hour days (usually 8:30am - 4:30am) at school.

To send your child there full time (and cheaply), you have to submit forms through the city office, and be approved. It is a popular school because of its modern facilities and high proportion of male teachers, so the waiting list is long.

I don`t work enough hours for Aiden to be accepted into full-time care, so we chose the ichi ji hoikuen option (we `decide` the days and times and pay per hour for Aiden to be taken care of). It sounds flexible, but some days were already full of kids, and they prefer students to stay all day so that they can calm down after mum leaves and enjoy a full-day schedule with meals, naps, etc.

Aiden will go for his first day this Wednesday! Yoshi and I are both off work, so if there are any problems, we can easily get to the Nursery school and pick him up.

In preparation for ichi ji hoikuen I was given several forms to fill out, a list of items to buy, and a do-it-at-home stool (poop) test (to make sure Aiden is fit and healthy to get in the pool come July).

The list of things I had to prepare looks like this...

And translated roughly looks like this...

Oshibori - hand towels - 3
Biniiru bukuro - plastic bags - 1
Koppu - cup - 1
Kyuushoku you Apuron - bib to wear at lunch time - 2
Kigae - change of clothes - 2
Omutsu/pantsu - diapers/pants - 4-5
Suupa no bukuro - supermarket plastic bag - 1
Nebukuro - sleeping bag - 1

The age written at the top of the chart refers to the age the child was on April 2nd this year (the cut-off line for birthdays in regard to school entrance in Japan). Aiden`s birthday is April 8th, so although he is now 2 years old, most kids in his class will be 1.

Check out his cool new sleeping bag!

It has a picture of Lightning Mcqueen on it (of course), and I found it on Amazon Jp.

So as I sit here writing Aiden`s name in Japanese (えいでん)on all his new stuff, I wonder if I am doing the right thing, if he will be ok without me, if he will be too はげしい (wild?) for the cute little Japanese kids, if he will cry all day and hate it, or if he will love it so much he wants to go every day!

Just two more sleeps and I guess we will know for sure!


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